The Monasteries in Bulgaria - Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery Guide!


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Rila Monastery "St. John of Rila"


John of Rila founded the monastery in the 10th century as a colony of hermits. Later it became one of the centers of early medieval culture. Over time it has been destroyed by fire, pillaged, and abandoned by the monks, but it remains a truly spectacular place. The largest and best-known of Bulgaria’s monasteries, famed for its architecture and mountainous setting, Rila receives a steady stream of visitors. The single road to the Rila Monastery runs above the foaming River Rilska, fed by innumerable springs from the surrounding mountains, which are covered with pine and beech trees beneath peaks flecked with snow. Even today there's a palpable sense of isolation, and it's easy to see why Ivan Rilski, or John of Rila, chose this valley to escape the savagery of feudal life and the laxity of the established monasteries at the end of the ninth century. The majestic Rila Monastery is one of nine Bulgarian sites included on the UNESCO List of World Heritage.

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